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DOMINICK LABINO 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Toledo Museum of Art 



http://archive.org/details/dominicklabinodeOOotto 



DOMINICK LABINO 



A Decade of Glass Craftsmanship 
1964-1974 



Pilkington Glass Museum 
Victoria and Albert Museum 
The Toledo Museum of Art 
1974-1975 




Dominick Labino 



Library of Congress catalogue card no: 74-79538 
© The Toledo Museum of Art 1974 



Dimensions: height precedes width. 

All photographs by Ray Bossert, Toledo 

except photograph of the artist, by Milton Zink. 



Printed in U.S.A. 



PREFACE 



Plans for this exhibition of representative glass 
by the American craftsman Dominick Labino 
over the past decade were initiated by Daniel E. 
Hogan, Curator of the Pilkington Glass 
Museum. 

The exhibition was organized jointly by the 
Pilkington Glass Museum, St. Helens, Lancashire, 
England, the Victoria and Albert Museum, 
London, and The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, 
Ohio. It will be shown in each of these 
Museums during 1974 and 1975. 

The three museums express their appreciation 
and thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Labino for 
their generosity in lending the glass for this 
extended period, and to the Ohio Arts 
Council for its financial support of this catalogue. 




Long-chain Molecules. 

Cubic form of hot cast panels. 

1973. 7'x6'. 

Johns-Manville Research and 

Development Center, Denver, Colorado. 



INTRODUCTION 



I have been impressed with the work of 
Dominick Labino from the very first moment 
that I saw examples of his glass in 1966. 
I made my mind up then that someday I would 
bring an exhibition of his work to England. 

A pioneer, Dominick Labino has helped and 
advised many craftsmen to develop and 
perfect their art. His use of color and the free 
form of his pieces mirror an eclectic 
imagination and dextrous skill. 

He is a scientist with the talent of a great 
craftsman— a unique man making unique glass. 

Daniel E. Hogan, Curator 
Pilkington Glass Museum 



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Vitrana. 

Mural of hot cast panels. 

1970. 7'4" X 8'8". 

The Toledo Museum of Art. 



THE ART OF DOMINICK LABINO 



In 1962 The Toledo Museum of Art offered a 
seminar-workshop in glassblowing. It was 
appropriate that it should have been offered in 
Toledo as this American city in northern 
Ohio is the headquarters of four major glass 
companies, and its Museum is world-famous 
for its extensive historic collections of glass. 

What was extraordinary, however, about 

this seminar was that it was offered by a former 

Toledo Museum ceramics instructor to a 

small group of practicing potters, none of whom 

had ever before blown glass. 

The Toledo seminar under the direction of 
Harvey Littleton, then a faculty member of the 
University of Wisconsin, constructed an 
elementary furnace. In its early attempts to melt 
glass the group, familiar only with pottery 
kilns fired at low temperature, sought the expert 
advice of Dominick Labino, then a vice- 
president and Director of Research and Develop- 
ment for the Glass Fibers Division of 
Johns-Manville Corporation. Labino, an 
engineer-inventor and holder of over 60 patents 
on industrial glass processes, had taken 
avocational art courses at the Museum, and he 
responded willingly to the group's dilemma. 



He not only provided a glass formula and 
marbles capable of melting at a practical 
temperature, but also at his suggestion the 
furnace was converted from small hand- 
thrown pots to a tank furnace. A retired 
industrial glassblower, Harvey Leaf green, 
showed the group how to blow glass. This 
seminar came to an end with few tangible 
results, but with a knowledge that glass could 
be melted and blown with furnaces and 
equipment simple enough for use by an artist- 
craftsman. 

Out of this pioneering effort and several 
succeeding seminars at Toledo came a rapidly 
growing interest in glass-craftsmanship 
which has resulted in glassblowing courses now 
offered by approximately 50 schools, 
colleges and universities in our country. In 1969 
Toledo's glass companies built for the 
Museum a fine new building especially for the 
teaching of glassblowing and the Museum 
has continued to offer adult courses in this field. 



The most remarkable result of that first 
seminar, however, was that Dominick Labino, 
the successful industrial engineer, became 
so interested in the possibilities of glass- 
craftsmanship that a year later, in 1963, 
he built a special building on a farm he owned 
in Grand Rapids, Ohio, to house glass- 
furnaces of his own construction. Two years 
later, in 1965, he requested retirement from 
his company at the early age of 54 so that he 
could devote full-time to his own work in 
glass-craftsmanship. The results of a decade of 
this work-from 1964 to 1974-can be seen 
in the illustrations which follow, a selection of 
70 pieces from his extensive, varied and 
creative production. 

Because of his scientific and practical engineering 
experience Labino formulates all of his own 
glass compositions. He has been able to develop 
methods of working molten glass and fusing 
colors in the molten state which are unique. It 
is significant that he has continued to act 
as a technical and scientific consultant to various 
glass companies and to several federal 
agencies including the National Space Agency. 
Three of his glass fiber developments have 
served as insulation against the extreme 
temperatures encountered by the Apollo 
space capsules. 



However, it is Labino's aesthetic accomplishment 
which is the subject of this exhibition. His 
restless creativity is evident in the varied colors, 
surface textures, forms, hollows and spatial 
relationships, and inner veils which occur 
throughout his work. The essential inventiveness 
of this man has resulted in never ending 
variety. His thrusts in new directions seem to 
be carried on at the same time as variations 
on earlier themes. The inherent qualities of glass 
are exploited with great technical virtuosity. 
Translucent or opaque, multicolored or plain, 
his glass forms are always fluid, complementary 
to the special nature of the material. These 
forms vary greatly; some are "useful" shapes 
such as bowls, vases, chalices, cruets or 
plates; others are non-functional abstract shapes 
such as sculptures, panels or paperweights. 
In every case, however, it is the essential quality 
of the glass which predominates. However, 
the "useful" shapes are not always useful, as 
their forms are often only an excuse for the 
aesthetic development of texture and color, 
which often appears to develop almost 
independently from the molten mass. 



The highly sophisticated techniques of the artist, 
some unique to him, beHe the apparent ease 
and flow of his forms. The extraordinary shapes 
of his hollow interior forms, which give 
flashing light to his pieces, the range of intensities 
of color in his fused multicolored forms, 
often contained in clear glass casing, his varied 
surface qualities which create broken 
reflective lights or light-absorbing matte textures 
are the work of a craftsman thoroughly 
familiar with the properties of glass, able to 
manipulate these properties with a complete 
control only possible because of Labino's unique 
combination of scientific knowledge and 
aesthetic inventiveness. 

Labino's greatest contribution however is his 
glorious color. No other glass-craftsman 
has achieved such extraordinary color- 
relationships, or subtle variations of tones. 
Indeed, few artists in this field are able to 
combine colors in their molten state for the 
technical reason that different colors react 
differently in the furnace in accordance 
with minor changes in temperature and oxygen. 
They also tend to cool at different rates, 
often causing inevitable breakage during the 
annealing process. Labino's inherent feeling 
for color has of course provided the impetus 
for its aesthetic use in his glass. 



While color occurs in the three-dimensional 
objects, it is the glass panels which best 
illustrate the relationship of color and form 
established in the molten glass. During 
the construction in 1969 of a new gallery to 
house the Toledo Museum's extensive collection 
of historical glass, Labino was invited to 
create a glass mural at the gallery's entrance. 
Although he had at that time never even 
made a glass panel, much less a mural approxi- 
mately 9' square, it is characteristic of the 
artist that he accepted the challenge without 
question. The opportunity to work closely 
with the artist during this development gave me 
an unparalleled opportunity to observe 
his methods. An entirely new technique of 
casting molten glass into panels had to be 
developed. Combinations of colors to create 
abstract forms and textures presented new 
technical problems. It was necessary to find 
new solutions to prevent cracking of the 
panels during cooling. New and larger annealing 
ovens to carefully control the cooling process 
had to be developed. 



Labino solved these problems, and over a 
period of more than a year he made more than 
100 panels from which were chosen the 33 
panels which comprise the Toledo Museum 
mural that was given to the Museum by 
Mr. and Mrs. Labino at the opening of the 
Museum's Glass Gallery in 1970. 

Subsequently, Labino has executed other glass 
murals for Columbus (Ohio) Gallery of 
Fine Arts (1971) and for Riverside Hospital 
(Toledo) in 1973. Most recently he has 
completed a large cubic form involving ten glass 
panels 80 inches high by 18 inches wide, 
3/4 inches thick, each weighing 100 pounds for 
a new Research and Development building 
of Johns-Manville Corporation in Denver, 
Colorado — an extraordinary technical 
achievement for a craftsman who had blown 
his first piece of glass only ten years before. 



The illustrations which follow comprise 
examples of the glass-craftsmanship of Dominick 
Labino over the first decade of his work, 
1964-1974. What will follow in the productive 
years to come is of course unknown. It 
would be fair to predict, however, that the work 
of this restless, inventive artist will 
continue to evolve in new and unexpected 
ways. More than 40 year's experience with 
glass and a life-long pattern of innovation can 
only lead to Labino's continuing development 
of a craft which has changed very little in 
essential technique in more than 4000 
years, yet which is as new as the material 
developed by Labino for use in man's 
flights to the moon. 

Otto Wittmann, Director 
The Toledo Museum of Art 





I. Marbleized glass. 
Applied heavy foot and rim. 
1964. 7" X 3V2". 



2. Chrome green opalescent glass, 
clipped and tooled decoration. 
1965. 6"x6". 





4. Triplicate. 

Copper opal glass, cut and tooled design. 

1966. 6V2" X 5". 



3. Pale cobalt and silver color variant, 
applied prunts. 
1965. 10V^"x6". 



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5. Copper-silver-and gold glass, 
applied prunts. 
1966. 5y^"x5". 



6. Silver glass, 

overlapping prunts and iridescent surface. 

1967. 6^2" X 5". 





7. Opalescent silver glass 
with feathered cobalt 
trailing encased. 
1967. Th"x2". 



8. Swirling design 
encased in green glass. 
1967. ZVi" X 15". 




9. Silver schmelzglas tooled to form design, 
and cased with colorless glass. 
1968. 8%"x5V2". 



10. Paperweight bottle. 
Hot-worked design encased. 
1967. 7"x2%". 






11. Colorless glass with 
cross-trailing of silver schmelzglas. 
1968. 6"x5". 





12. The Spirit of Glass. 
Cadmium orange glass, 
with air sculpture enclosures. 
1968. 4^2" X 3". 




13. Golden amber glass with 
cut and tooled relief. 
1968. 7"x4". 




14. Inner cobalt blue form 
reflected from concave surfaces. 
1968. 6"x3V2". 




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15. Copper blue glass with 
air sculpture enclosures. 
1968. 6"x4y2". 



16. U.F.O. 

Hot-cast panel. 
1968. 14"xl4". 



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17. Gold-ruby glass with color variant. 
1968. 3" x6". 



18. Silver schmelzglas with swirling colors. 
1968. 4" X TVi". 



19. Pale cobalt blue 
with applied droplets 
of dark cobalt. 
1968. SVi" X 4V2". 





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21. Pale green glass with air sculpture 
enclosures and gold veiling. 
1969. 3V2"x3V^". 



22. Copper glass with seven rings of color. 
1969. SVi" X 8". 



20. Demon 
Hot-cast panel. 
1969. IS" X 14". 




23. Break-Through. 
Hot-glass sculpture. 
1970. 9Vi" X 5". 




24. Pale cobalt blue glass 

with multi-color design encased 

1970. 8" X 7". 





25. Anatomie 
Surre'aliste. 
Hot-cast panel. 
1969. 18"xl4" 





26. Iridescent surface with 
fire polished prunts. 
1970. 6V2"x4". 



27. Pale blue glass, 
hot-tooled design encased. 
1971. 7"x3". 




28. Vertical bands of white, yellow, orange, 
and red encased in colorless glass. 
1971. 3"x5". 



29. Re-entry. 
Hot-cast panel. 
1971. 18"xl4' 





31. Bottle with bubbled cobalt and 
air form enclosure. Stopper. 
1971. 6"x3y2". 



32. Cruet. Copper glass with color 
variant from base. Sculptured surface. 
1971. 7"x4". 



30. Colorless glass, 
festooning encased. 
1971. 4" X 41/2". 



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33. Colorless glass with 
cross-trailing yellow glass encased. 
1972. 4V2"x4V2". 



34. Burgundy glass with flower /, 
on an iridescent surface 
1972. 4"x4". 



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35. Spatial Movement. 
Hot glass sculpture. 
1972. 7^k" X 9". 









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36. Pale manganese glass with 
multi-color design encased. 
1972. 8"x5V2". 




37. Feathered trailing on opaque 
white glass and cased in colorless glass. 
1972. 8"x3". ' 




38. Multi-color festoons on opaque 
white glass, cased in colorless glass. 
1972. 10" X 4". 




39. Copper red glass continuous prunts. 
Iridescent surface. 
1972. Tk" X 7V2". 



40. Forty-one Degrees North. 
Hot glass sculpture. 
1972. 8"x5y2". 




41. Tooled surface sculpture, 

iridescent. 

1972. Syi'xSVz". 




42. Fish-bowl Frolic. 
Design on opaque white glass 
cased in colorless glass. 
1972. 6"x6". 



43. Feathered trailing on opaque white 
glass, encased in colorless glass. 
1972. 7" X 5V^". 




44. Pale amber glass with 
hot-formed design encased. 
1971. 3" X 8V2".- 



45. Green opal glass, 

sculptured and reduced metallic surface. 

1972. 7" X 4". 







46. Deep cobalt blue glass with 
textured white prunts. 
1972. 5V2" X 5". 



47. Seated Form. 
Hot-cast panel. 
1972. 18" X 14". 



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48. Conflagration. 
Design on opaque white glass 
and cased in colorless glass. 
1972. 8"x5V2". 



49. Chalice. Cobalt and silver glass 
with dichroic effect. 
1972. eV^'x 4". 





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50. Design on opaque white glass 
and cased in colorless glass. 
1972. dVi'xSyj". 



51. Decanter with blue-green dichroic 
prunts on decanter, stopper, and wine cups. 
1972. 10". 




52. Orange and red design 
cased in colorless glass. 
1973. 5'A" x4V2". 



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53. Burgundy glass, 
opaque white design, 
cased in colorless glass. 
1973. SVi" X 3". 



54. Cadmium orange flower forms 
on opaque white glass, 
and cased in colorless glass. 
1972. 8"x5". 




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56. Cyclops. 
Hot-glass sculpture. 
1973. 7V2" X 9". 



57. Air sculpture on dark purple glass, 
cased with colorless glass. 
1973. 4Vi"x5". 



55. Sea Kingdom. 
Hot glass sculpture. 
1973. 6"x5". 




58. Emergence XV. 
Hot glass sculpture. 
1973. 10" X 7". 



Dichroic. 



59. Harlequin. 

Vertical bands of color tooled 
and cased in colorless glass. 
1973. 6V2" X 5". 





60. Dark festooning on opaque yellow glass, 
cased in colorless glass. 
1973. 5'A"x3%". 




61. Burgundy glass with 
applied trailing. 
1973. 5" X 5". 



62. Hot-tooled design, 
cased in colorless glass. 
1974. 5V^"x3V2". 




63. Aerial design against 
cobalt and silver 
dichroic glass, 
cased in colorless glass. 
1973. 3^2" X 4 Y^". 



64. Swirling design 
encased in colorless glass. 
1974. IV2" X 7%". 




65. Hot-tooled design 
cased in color-variant glass. 
1974. 8"x3V^". 



66. Hot-tooled design 
cased in colorless glass. 
1974. 8V2"x5Vi". 




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67. Chalice. Multi-colored 
festooning against an 
opaque white glass, 
cased in colorless glass. 
1973. 6'A"x4^/2". 




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68. Group of paperweights. 
1973-1974.